Earlier this month, TCGPlayer held their Modern State Championships. Yeah, it is a paper program and I don’t really play paper anymore, despite trying to build Modern decks for unknown reasons, I find it nice to be able to look at a lot of Modern decklists. It’s true that a large majority of the decks are known archetypes, sometimes new decks will spring up, or an underplayed archetype will run hot for a tournament. On top of new decklists, we also get to see new cards, as these events are usually held shortly after a new set comes out. Not only did a new set come out, adding new cards to the format, two important ones were removed, when Gitaxian Probe and Golgari Grave-Troll were banned.
That is a lot of card movement.
While these events happened earlier in the month, decklists have been trickling in since then. I got a chance to sit down and look at some of them and just really enjoyed the innovation that some of the builders showed in their lists.
Let’s go ahead and get to the decklists. First up is Living End!
Living End by Jody Keith
Leading off with a known archetype was a bit of a risky move, but this deck has a couple of things that I really think are worth highlighting. The first is the addition of Blood Moon, which with Simian Spirit Guide can come into to play early and really help out against the greedy manabases of Modern. I imagine landing a Blood Moon against something like Grixis Control really helps even that match out, as it’s really hard for them to counter your spells if they can’t produce blue mana right?
The second thing that I think is neat about this deck is the addition of a single Kari Zev’s Expertise. I’ve played Living End enough to know that drawing the sorcery is a blow, and having to suspend it is slow. The Expertise allows the deck to steal a creature and cast the drawn Living End for free. It’s a very little thing, but having the option to actually cast the spell was something the deck needed, and the Expertise allows that to happen cheaply.
Next up is a variant of Knightfall and Amulet Combos, the adequately named Bant Amulet.
Bant Amulet by Israel Rivera
It uses the Knight of the Reliquary and Retreat to Coralhelm combo (turn one mana dork, turn two Knight, turn three Retreat, activate Knight, get a land, untap Knight, attack for a ton, but not lethal because the deck does not have enough Plains or Forests in it to make it a lethal attack) or with the power of the hideaway lands and Amulet of Vigor, it can cheat out Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.
A lot of Moderns “issues” would probably be solved if Wizards just banned Emrakul. That’s for another discussion though.
Amulet of Vigor does the bulk of the work here, as ideally you want to cast a mana creature on one, a Knight on two, and Retreat on three as a Knightfall deck normally would want. Turn four is where I expect things to go wildly different from Knightfall though! Cast an Amulet, activate your Knight, and start to pluck hideaway lands out. You untap them with the Amulet, and could benefit from their abilities on the same turn. I’d imagine with with Fetchlands and Knight activations, Mosswort Bridge would be the easiest of the two to activate.
It’s also a Collected Company deck, and can use the instant to protect your creatures in play with Spell Queller, or just go aggro on your hapless opponent. This is what Mythic (the deck not the card rarity) would look like now I think.
Next we move on to a Legacy to Modern port, or at least a port as close as one can get between the formats. It’s not like Ancient Tomb is legal in both formats.
Free Win Red by Jeffery Howard
This deck pops up every so often, and typically it has Demigod of Revenge in it as a win condition, but this version does not, and that’s fine. This deck is packed with enough hate that I imagine sitting down across from it would be like unexpectedly showing up at the Playa Hater’s Ball.
(Dated reference, check)
What we have here is a deck that can attack the greedy manabases of the format and not suffer any splashback. Blood Moon makes non basics Mountains, but it’s hard to care when every land in your deck is a Mountain already. It breaks the symmetry there. It breaks the symmetry of Ensnaring Bridge by using Planeswalkers to win. Chandra, Torch of Defiance is a Shock a turn with some card advantage, and Koth of the Hammer is ramp and makes Mountains in to little Flame Fusillades. Chalice of the Void protects your spells. The amount of cards that keep your opponent from playing Magic is something that makes me happy at least.
Moving on to the last list, which is one I wanted to highlight because it reminds me of my favorite Pauper deck.
Ur Kiln Fiend by Dylan McGeary
It’s a Kiln Fiend deck, and I love those things in Pauper!
Actually it’s closer to a Prowess deck than a Kiln Fiend deck, but the combo of casting cheap spells (even without Gitaxian Probe) and using Apostle’s Blessing to protect your suddenly giant monster works just as well in Modern. This is something that I would play just to have some fun I think. I’m not sure how good it is, but it is exactly the kind of deck that I love.
Did anything from Modern states catch your eye? Let us know in the comments, and thanks for reading!
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